British relay team win gold – 13 years after event

Five months after Jessica Ennis and Phillips Idowu struck gold in Berlin, British athletics was celebrating another world championship success yesterday. Unlike the heptathlon victory of Ennis and the triple jump triumph of Idowu at the 2009 World Championships in the German capital, it came with a bittersweet aftertaste.

It was at the 1997 championships in Athens that Roger Black, Jamie Baulch, Iwan Thomas and Mark Richardson were first honoured for their efforts in the men's 4x400 metres final. They stood on the podium as silver medallists while their rivals from the United States basked in a golden glow to the tune of the "Star Spangled Banner". Thirteen years on, UK Athletics, the domestic governing body of track and field, is making plans for a new medal ceremony after confirmation that that the British quartet have been upgraded from silver-lining merchants to golden boys.

The development has been long expected – since May 2008, when Antonio Pettigrew told a federal court in the United States that he had been assisted by the blood-boosting hormone erythropoietin when he helped the US team to victory in Greece. Testifying at the trial in San Francisco of his coach, Trevor Graham, Pettigrew admitted that he had taken the banned drug for four years, between 1997 and 2001.

Having missed out by 0.18sec in a thrilling final in Athens in 1997, the British quartet can now get ready to savour their overdue just reward. "We have had official notification that the medals are ours," a UK Athletics spokeswoman said yesterday. A spokesman for the International Association of Athletics Federations, the sport's global governing body, added: "The decision to strip Pettigrew of his medals was approved by the IAAF Council in late November 2008. At that point efforts were made to recover the original medals. In the end not all were returned, so the IAAF decided to make a new set."

Those new medals are likely to presented at a major UK Athletics event this year, either during the looming indoor or summer outdoor season.

Responding to the news, Baulch said: "I have missed out on 13 years of telling people that I am a world champion. There is a little bit of bitterness that we were robbed of the gold. I missed an opportunity to celebrate in front of 100,000 people as the sport was at its peak; it was the golden days of athletics."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral